Rove Backs Off O’Donnell Criticism After Limbaugh Declares He’s ‘In Charge’ Of Saying Who’s Electable

In the early days of the Obama presidency, the Republican Party was so bereft of a leading voice that hate radio host Rush Limbaugh had to fill the vacuum. His reign was so powerful that Republicans dared not cross him, and if they did, they would inevitably beg for forgiveness shortly thereafter.

Karl Rove — who recently guest-hosted Limbaugh’s radio show — appears to be the latest GOPer to bow down before Rush. Rove has taken considerable heat from the right for attacking Delaware’s newly-minted GOP U.S. Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell, saying she’s a bad candidate who has “serious character problems.” Yesterday, Limbaugh joined in:

“This is about conservatives taking back the Republican Party. … Who the hell are they, anyway, to anoint or disanoint somebody as electable or not electable?” Rush Limbaugh asked Wednesday. “I’m in charge of that! … That’s always been my purview and nothing’s changed.” […]

“Look at the petulant attitude. ‘Screw you – Christine O’Donnell wins, she’s on her own. You’re on your own,’” Limbaugh said. […]

“We’re going to throw in the towel here?” Limbaugh rhetorically asked his close ally, who spent a day filling in on his program this summer. “Why not fight for it?”

Rove, who just last night criticized O’Donnell for her tax troubles, today tried to paint himself as an O’Donnell supporter. First, Rove bemoaned being called an “establishment Republican,” pleading, “I’m a huge Tea Party fan!” He then reversed course on O’Donnell. “She’s got a shot to win!” Rove said, claiming that he “endorsed her the other night.” Watch it:

Perhaps Limbaugh is again taking up the mantle as the GOP’s de facto leader, considering the Party still has no ideas, and it appears he no longer thinks highly of its “architect.”